Msgr. William J. Lynn

PHILADELPHIA (CNS) — A Philadelphia archdiocesan priest was released from a Pennsylvania state prison Jan. 2 after an appeals court reversed his conviction for endangering child welfare by his handling of a sex abuse case.

After leaving the prison in Waymart, where he had served 18 months of his sentence, Msgr. William Lynn, former secretary for clergy for the Philadelphia Archdiocese, was fitted with an electronic monitoring device. One of his lawyers, who told The Associated Press that the priest would likely be released to the custody of a family member, declined to say where Msgr. Lynn would live while prosecutors appealed the Superior Court ruling.

Bond was set at $250,000 for Msgr. Lynn Dec. 30, four days after an appeals court reversed his conviction. The priest was told by Common Pleas Court Judge Teresa Sarmina to surrender his passport and submit to electronic monitoring and weekly reporting while out on bail.

On Dec. 26, a panel of judges for a Pennsylvania Superior Court reversed the priest’s conviction in handling a clerical abuse case and ordered his release from prison. Sarmina told the courtroom Dec. 30 that she had been grappling with how to respond and that she considered simply affirming her original ruling and continuing to deny bail.

Sarmina had rejected Msgr. Lynn’s requests for bail during his 2012 trial and while his case was on appeal. But because the higher court ruled she had erred in applying the law under which Msgr. Lynn was convicted, she said Dec. 30 that she had to acknowledge that if the conviction was in question, the punishment also would be in question.

Msgr. Lynn has served 18 months of a 2012 prison sentence of three to six years after he was found guilty of endangering the welfare of a child, a felony.

(Read more about the reversal of Msgr. Lynn’s conviction here.)